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JVC on Friday released the world's first rewritable disc to feature dual layers on a single side, mimicking some movie DVDs and allowing users to write up to 8.5GB of uninterrupted data. The breakthrough brings the physical size of a dual-layer DVD in line with single-layer counterparts while permitting as many as 1000 complete burns. A new hard-coating technique will also apply to every disc to protect them against flaws that frequently ruin ordinary DVDs: the new method is 150 times tougher than normal discs and essentially guarantees resistance against typical scratches, smudges, and even static electricity, JVC says. Current DVDs can be recorded at 2X speed.
The Nokia 5200 was recently adopted by the Canadian carrier Fido, giving Electronista the rare opportunity to test it before it hits wider North American release. The phone is the latest in Nokia's XpressMusic series, and should not be confused with with the existing 5300; while superficially similar, the 5200 drops the camera rating from 1.3 megapixels to VGA, and also drops a band from its GSM receiver. More importantly, given its musical focus, the track skip buttons have been removed, leaving only a play/pause button.
An upcoming but unannounced Motorola phone will signal one of Motorola's greater experiments in controls, says a leak from Chinese site Zol. In place of full-sized keys, each input will be replaced by small contact points with labels triggered by background lighting. The technique would let each button's function change depending on the context: in media mode, the number keys would fade away to be replaced by track navigation controls, the website notes. Implementing the scheme would allow Motorola to add or alter controls on the fly, a frequent problem with non-touchscreen phones.
Microsoft began its Labor Day weekend by providing launch dates for the Halo 3 accessories that will ship ahead of the game itself and alongside the Special Edition Xbox 360. The Halo 3 Wireless Headset comes in the orange and tan of the Master Chief and is designed to eliminate the clutter of the wired earpiece for long gaming sessions; similar to the all-white original, it runs for up to eight hours on a charge and has dual removable clips to fit unusual ear sizes. It should be available for a limited production run on September 4th for $60.
Sales of Blu-Ray movies almost completely eclipsed those of HD DVD in August, says a new report from Home Media Research. Of the top 10 HD movies sold as of August 5th, all ten relied on the Blu-Ray format -- including titles that were considered cross-platform launches, such as the chart's first-place movie 300. While the figures counted sales of the multi-format movies towards the overall figure, some titles would have been excluded from the list altogether without their Blu-Ray statistics, such as Babel. Most instances in which viewers had the choice of either format gave Blu-Ray the greater share of sales.
Archos is about to ship the Archos 105, the music-oriented device in its fifth-generation player line. The 2GB device is thin at just 0.3 inches deep but is capable of playing a full range of content; beyond MP3, WAV, and WMA music, the 105 is also home to full-speed Windows Media video at its native resolution and JPEG photo viewing. A 1.8-inch OLED screen brightens the image and also keeps power consumption at 18 hours for audio.
Panasonic today committed to releasing a high-speed SDHC card with 16GB of storage. Representing four times the storage of the company's previous best model, the card also musters sustained transfer speeds of 20MB per second; this is quick enough for the HDC-SD5 and other AVCHD cameras and gives them as much as four hours of 1080i video or over 6100 photos even from a 10-megapixel camera, the company estimates. The professional-level SDHC card is now set to launch worldwide in November and should be priced at $320 with 4GB and smaller models remaining at today's prices.
SanDisk has announced three new memory products, concentrated in the realm of SD. Preeminent is a new 4GB card in the company's Ultra II SDHC line; it is specifically an early entry into the Ultra II SDHC Plus line, and has read/write speeds of approximately 10MB/s, a full 4MB faster than the high-level Class 6 speed. Another highlight is the Hinge Lock, which allows the card to be attached directly to a USB port. It should be released in October at a price of $80.
Sony's mysterious Rolly jukebox has been confirmed, courtesy of a promo video for the player found by Engadget. While many of its details are still unknown, the player appears designed to react with its own movement in time with the music, rolling on a table or the floor through body-sized wheels and opening its speaker covers. The device would also pulse different colors at the same time, according to the video.
Taking advantage of the IFA electronics expo in Berlin, Philips has has announced a new Blu-Ray player, the BDP-7100. A successor to the first-generation BDP-9000, the 7100 will support both 1080p/24 and 1080p/60 through HDMI, and will also be capable of internally decoding high-end audio codecs, including DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD. Little else is known, except that the player should soon be available across Europe. Given the 9000's presence in North America, the 7100 may eventually arrive as a domestic product. [via Blu-ray.com]
NAVIGON at the IFA show today rolled out a new starter GPS unit it says will please drivers still looking for some extra features. The 2100 (pictured) is based around the near ubiquitous 3.5-inch touchscreen of many mapping units but still shares the slim profiles of the 5100 and 7100 and a few of the more advanced features. Reality View provides a 3D mockup of the road that indicates lane changes and actual signs in the area; unlike some units, traffic data is always free, NAVIGON says. Points of interest are complemented by ZAGAT star ratings in major US cities to help recommend better hotels or restaurants.
Mercedes-Benz has forged a deal with Google and Yahoo! to link web maps with GPS data, simplifying in-car navigation services. Both Google Maps and Yahoo! Local Maps will soon have a "Send to Car" option, allowing maps, directions and points of interest to be sent to a Mercedes GPS system, whether the owner's or that of a peer. Once in their cars, people will have to push an "i" button to download the information, which will then be usable either immediately or at a later time. Mercedes' Search & Send system will launch September 5th with the S-class sedan and CL-class coupe, and should be present on all models of the 2008 C-class.
Amazon's MP3 music store may finally be available next month with prices lower than those at Apple's store, according to a report from the New York Post. The newspaper cites anonymous industry sources who claim that the often-delayed store will launch the week of September 17th, carrying protection-free tracks from EMI as well as Universal and independent labels. However, pricing will be the key selling point, the paper says. In contrast to Apple's iTunes, which sells individual tracks without copy protection for $1.29 each, a standard Amazon new release track would cost 99 cents with albums selling between $8 and $10 each in most cases.
Verizon Wireless has announced it will carry a special green edition of the LG enV, due out September 2nd. Simply known as the enV green, it will only be sold through Circuit City, and should remain otherwise unchanged from the standard edition (seen right). The phone's primary selling point is its QWERTY keypad, which like the T-Mobile Sidekick, improves the ease of writing e-mail and other text. It also benefits from features such as Bluetooth, stereo speakers, a two-megapixel camera, and V CAST music and video. The enV will cost $150 after a $50 rebate and a new two-year contract.
The Department of Justice today told a U.S. court that its Microsoft anti-trust settlement benefits consumers and competition in the middleware market. Final judgments against the Redmond-based software giant benefit the development and distribution of middleware -- including Web browsers, media players, and instant messaging software -- resulting in more choices for consumers, the department said. In a joint filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Department and the states of New York, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin submitted a review of the final judgments entered in 2002 to resolve the antitrust case against Microsoft.
Casio opened its presence at Berlin's IFA technology show today by demonstrating a new pro camera that would blur distinctions between still and motion photography. The unnamed Exilim combines a new-generation CMOS sensor with enhanced LSI processing to capture video at frame rates better even than the best home HD cameras. Though capped at 6 megapixels, the camera can record video at this full resolution at 60 frames per second -- double that of standard video and quick enough to let the camera snap images at full size without interrupting video or significantly blurring the resulting shot.
AT&T today became the third US provider to begin carrying the RAZR2, this time offering the device in its V9 form with 3G Internet access over the provider's HSDPA network. The AT&T version is also the only American version to ship in the RAZR2's unique metallic red and runs on Motorola's Synergy interface rather than the Linux-based JUIX shell used for the 2G, EDGE-only RAZR2 V8. Virtually all features are intact from the 2-megapixel cameraphone, including stereo Bluetooth.
Shure on Friday brought its newer SE series in-canal buds to the mainstream level with the SE110. The audio gear maker brags that it has brought its pro-grade technology down to a level that most listeners can afford and integrates much of the same fundamental technology. Sound is generated through balanced microdrivers that are said to deliver clear treble without canceling bass, and a form-fitting design that eliminates 90 percent of ambient sound with a tight seal.
Sharp today revealed a prototype touchscreen display it believes could solve many of the inherent limitations of current models. The current example uses the same 3.5-inch size and 320x480 resolution of the iPhone's Balda-made display but builds optical sensors directly into the LCD surface, detecting changes by the pixel. Input is sensitive enough to allow complex multi-touch gestures such as an iPhone-like "pinch" but can also perform scanning functions; a future device could include a business card reader tool or automatically scan data codes found on packaging, Sharp says.
Samsung unleashed a bevy of new home entertainment products at the IFA 2007 conference, currently underway in Berlin, Germany, including new HD LCD TVs, a player supporting both HD DVD and Blu-Ray disc playback, and a new line of portable audio players. The new Blu-ray/HD DVD players, the BD-UP5000, shares most functionality with its Blu-ray-only siblings, the BD-P1400 and BD-P2400. The players offer full compatibility with 24 movie frames per second playback and 60Fs for enhanced compatibility with many of today's HDTVs. The BD-P2400 works with Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD while BD-P1400 works with Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, The duo HD BD-UP5000 will be available in the fourth quarter of 2007, the BD-P2400 in October, and the BD-P1400 in September.
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